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Here's a look at my recent acquisitions...
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Josephine Tey is often referred to as the mystery writer for people who don't like mysteries. Her skills at character development and mood setting, and her tendency to focus on themes not usually touched upon by mystery writers, have earned her a vast and appreciative audience. In Daughter of Time, Tey focuses on the legend of Richard III, the evil hunchback of British history accused of murdering his young nephews. While at a London hospital recuperating from a fall, Inspector Alan Grant becomes fascinated by a portrait of King Richard. A student of human faces, Grant cannot believe that the man in the picture would kill his own nephews. With an American researcher's help, Grant delves into his country's history to discover just what kind of man Richard Plantagenet was and who really killed the little princes. From Amazon.com
For some reason, I have never read anything by Tey, though I've been told so many times that I would love her books, and I certainly love the premise of this book having written a paper in college entitled, Richard III: Villain or Saint? The paper was lost years ago when my basement flooded, destroying most of the stuff I had saved from high school and college, but I remember that paper. Maybe it's good that I can't reread it. Some things are best left to the soothing touch of memory.
The Price of Butcher's Meat by Reginald Hill.
In Hill's solid 23rd Dalziel and Pascoe procedural set in Yorkshire, Det. Supt. Andy Dalziel doesn't see much of his longtime colleague, DCI Peter Pascoe, because Dalziel is recovering from the serious injuries he suffered in Death Comes for the Fat Man (2007) in the quiet resort of Sandytown. When the charred corpse of wealthy Lady Daphne Denham turns up in a revolving basket that had been used for a pig roast in Sandytown, the two policemen pursue largely independent investigations. Much of the background to Denham's demise comes from e-mails that in spots may puzzle those unfamiliar with e-mail jargon. More deaths follow before Hill offers a final twist that's unlikely to catch experienced genre readers by surprise. The crotchety Dalziel's chafing at the restrictions at the convalescent home where he's staying provides some amusing distraction from the somewhat leisurely crime solving. Newcomers might better start with earlier books in the series. From Publishers Weekly via Amazon.com
The warning in the last line of the review quoted notwithstanding, this will be my first Reginald Hill, and I've been wanting to read it since I heard it was "inspired" by Austen's Sanditon, one of the greatest "what-might-have-beens" ever! I've been meaning to read something by Hill ever since I heard him speak at the JASNA AGM in San Francisco in 1997, where he impressed me with his sense of humor and love of Austen's Juvenilia.
Dark Quartet: The Story of the Brontes, by Lynne Reid Banks
Everybody seems to be writing fictional accounts of the Brontes these days, but this 1976 biography of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne comes highly recommended so I'm willing to give it a try, having given up on a couple of fictional forays earlier this year.
Maria Chapdelaine: A Tale of French Canada, by Louis Hemon
Maria Chapdelaine, the quintessential novel of the rugged life of early French-Canadian colonists, is based on the author's experiences as a hired hand in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area. A young woman living with her family on the Quebec frontier, Maria endures the hardships of isolation and climate. Maria must eventually choose between three suitors who represent very different ways of life: a trapper, a farmer, and a Parisian immigrant. Powerful in its simplicity, this novel captures the essence of faith and tenacity, the key ingredients of survivance. Translated into many languages, Maria Chapdelaine is enshrined as a classic of Canadian letters. A new introduction by Michael Gnarowski examines its relevance and provides insights into Louis Hemon's life. From Amazon.com
My mother, a native of Quebec, insisted that I read this book when I was in high school. I did, but didn't care for it as reading it meant that I had to delay reading P&P for the fifth time. Now, my mother recently gave me a copy with the strong suggestion that I give it another try. Yes, Mom!